Egypt and Nile Cruise Oct. 24 - Nov. 4, 2019

Tentative Itinerary

Thur, Oct 24 – We’ll board our international flight at O’Hare to begin our journey back in time to the ancient land of the Pharos. In flight meals   

Fri, Oct 25 – We arrive in Cairo late today to reward ourselves with a good night’s sleep.  

Sat, Oct 26 – Following breakfast our bus takes us the home of the signature attraction of Egypt, the Great Pyramids, one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. The Great Pyramid of Cheops is more than 2,600 years old and stands 480 ft tall. You’ll see the mysterious Sphinx carved almost entirely from one piece of limestone. After lunch we proceed to Memphis, founded in 100BC and Sakkara to learn about the recent discovery of 3 new tombs and the secrets they revealed. We’ll go to a Sound & Light Show this evening. B/L  

Sun, Oct 27 – There is a morning flight to Luxor. Today we visit some agricultural venues to learn about food production in this Nile River area. B  

Mon, Oct 28 – We board our luxury Nile Cruise boat where we will spend the next 4 nights/5 days. This afternoon we visit the Karnak Temple, the largest temple complex built by man situated on 247 acres. It took 1,300 years to build and enlarged. The 3 main temples of Mut, Montu and Amun are enclosed by huge brick walls. We proceed to the Temple of Luxor where the festival of Opet was designed to merge the ruler’s human and divine aspects. There is an optional Sound & Light program available tonight. B/L/D  

Tue, Oct 29 – Early this morning you can go on an optional Hot Air Balloon Ride before breakfast. Today we’ll visit the West Bank starting with Valley of Kings with its many tombs chiseled deep into the cliffside. Since the 18th century pyramid tombs were abandoned in favor of the West Bank in Thebes with tombs still being discovered. It was here in 1922 when the treasures of Tutankhamen were discovered. We next see the mortuary temple of Queen Hatshepsut situated at the head of a valley overshadowed by the Peak of Thebes. Last stop is the mortuary temple that was guarded by two gigantic statues. All that remains today are the 75ft high, 1,000ton statues of Amenhotep III. The rest of the day is at leisure. B/L/D  

Wed, Oct 30 – Early this morning we sail toward Edfu Temple, also known as the Temple of Horus, which is considered to be the best-preserved temple in Ancient Egypt and is the second largest. Dedicated to the falcon-headed god, Horus, it was believed to have been built on the site of the great battle between Horus and Seth. We sail to Kom Ombo tonight. B/L/D  

Thur, Oct 31 – On our morning cruise we’ll visit Kom Ombo Temple which overlooks the Nile. We sail on to visit the High Dam near Aswan. This engineering miracle of the 60’s is over 11,000 ft long, 3200 ft thick at the base and 360 ft high. It provides irrigation and electricity for all of Egypt. Last stop today is the Philae Temple moved in the wake of the High Dam. We’ll sail around the Botanical Garden by Felucca. There is an optional Sound and Light Show tonight. B/L/D  

Fri, Nov 1 – After breakfast we fly to Cairo. There is an optional tour to Abu Simbel you might like. These massive temples, carved of solid rock 3,000 years ago, are a tribute to Ramses II”s favorite wife and the dietes. Four 60 ft statues facing sunrise are of his family. Or, spend a free day of sight-seeing in Caro. B  

Sat, Nov 2 – We start our day with a guided tour of the Egyptian Museum which highlights each historical period in Egypt. Marvel at the glittering gold treasures of King Tutankhamen. As an optional tour, enter the Royal Mummies room to view the “sleeping” kings. After lunch we drive to the Citadel of Mohamed Ali overlooking the city. We proceed to Old Cairo and visit El Mualiaqa Church built in the 4th century which became the center of the Christian Church. We’ll visit the Khan el-Khaliti Bazaar to see gold and coppersmiths, brass makers and fortunetellers at work. Look at their leatherworks and inlaid woodworks. B/L  

Sun, Nov 3 – We have a full day in Alexandria. We begin with the National Museum located in a restored palace which narrates its history through the pharaonic, Roman, Coptic and Islamic eras. Mummies are shown in an underground chamber. Next we visit the Catacomb of Alexandria with its 3 levels cut into rock, a staircase, rotunda, banquet hall, vestibule, antechamber, and burial chamber. We proceed to the Roman Amphitheater with its 700-800 marble seats around the stage. Our last stop is the Alexandria Library which can accommodate 2000 users on 7 levels. We return to Cairo to refresh for our late evening flight back. B/L  

Mon, Nov 4 – We arrive back in Chicago. In-flight meals

Trip Highlights

  • Full day visit of Egypt's famous pyramids 
  • 4-night Nile River cruise 
  • Air from Chicago + domestic flights in Egypt 
  • Full day Cairo tour 
  • Cruise excursions include Valley of the kings, Luxor Temple, High Dam, Felucca Sail 
  • Day trip to Alexandria 
  • Cairo Sound & Light Show 
  • Licensed Egyptologist guide 
  • All transfers; all air conditioned 
  • Video of trip 
  • Optional: Luxor and Aswan Sound & Light Shows; Luxor Hot Air Baloon Ride; Abu Simbel tour w/air, transfers and guide (See Pricing page for more info)


- LeMeridian Pyramids Hotel, Cairo

- Sonesta St. George Hotel, Luxor

- Sonesta St. George Nile Cruise


Machu Picchu, Peru & amazon river basin January 7-17, 2020

Tentative Itinerary

Tue, January 7 – We fly out of O’Hare arriving in Lima, Peru this evening and are transferred to a nearby hotel for a good night’s rest.  

Wed, January 8 – We’ll travel to the capital of the Inca Empire this morning.  A one-hour flight over the spectacular Andes Mountains takes us to the Sacred Valley and Cusco. This area is home to   archeological sites and small towns. Prepare to experience a balance of what was and what is…ancient civilization and modern life. Our first stop, Sacsayhuaman, features some of the largest and most impressive stonework of the Incas. Ponder how these massive limestone boulders were moved, carved and positioned so that not even a sheet of paper fit between them. Next, participate in a ceremonial offering to Mother Earth and learn about the role of weaving in Peruvian culture.  Enjoy a traditional lunch at a private estate which has an impressive collection of Inca and colonial artifacts. Later this afternoon we check into an Andean paradise with fragrant gardens and mountain views. B/L/D  

Thur, January 9 – We head to Moray, an important former Inca ruins site. Its multi-terraced architecture made it an advanced bio-agricultural laboratory in its time. Changes in altitude between levels allowed them to experiment with different conditions and ultimately allowed the Inca to perfect farming techniques.  We then visit Quechua and participate in a Pachamanca ceremony which pays homage to Mother Earth. Here meats and produce are cooked in a baking hole under-ground using heat from stones left in a fire. It’s a custom celebrating the fertility of the earth.  After lunch we visit the salt ponds of Maras where a cascade of thermal springs provided salt for area residents.  Return this afternoon for a second  night at your hotel. B/L/D  

Fri, January 10 – Today we travel to the royal estate of the ninth Inca, Pachacuti,  and the only remaining example of pre-Colombian urban planning, Ollantaytambo. It still retains the original street plan and foundations of the Incas. Later this morning we experience one of the great train rides on our journey to Machu Picchu. View the mighty Urubamba River as it carves its way next to our train. We descend into the cloud forest and arrive in Aguas Calientes, gateway to Machu Picchu.  You are free this afternoon to visit the local market or the hot springs.B/L/D  

Sat, January 11 – Take a short bus ride through a tropical forest to Machu Picchu, the lost city of the Incas. Flanked by Andean peaks on all sides and the Urubamba River gorge below, it’s no wonder the Spanish were unable to find this secret hideaway. Journey back in time with our guide on our walking tour to learn about the mysterious origins of this other-world citadel which served as a private retreat for Inca royals. Marvel at the intricate, sophisticated stonework of its dwellings, terraces and water-ways; all of which makes Machu Picchu one of the greatest architectural achieve-ments of all times.  We’ll visit a sacred stone carved to mark the solstice and determine the beginning and end of each agricultural year. Later watch the clouds of mist roll in over the mountains or opt for an exhilarating hike up the summit of Wayna Picchu for an unparalleled aerial view of the ruins. We return to Cusco tonight.  B/L  

Sun, January 12 – We meet our guide and explore Cusco this morning.  This is the capital of the Inca Empire and is known as the “Navel of the World” in the Quechua language. Quechua speaking descendants fill the streets proving that this ancient culture is still vibrant.  We’ll wander down cobbled walkways with our guide admiring the Inca and Spanish influence. Stop at the Coricancha, a temple dedicated to the sun, once covered with sheets of gold and filled with golden figures and statues. Later this morning visit the public market with its local meats, cheeses, fruit and vegetables as well as unusual items like guinea pig and live frogs. Take this afternoon to explore Cusco’s artisan shops or search for the “twelve-sided stone”.     B/L  

Mon, January 13 – This morning we’ll fly to Puerto Maldonado, Amazon basin, for a 45-minute boat ride in a canoe down the Made de Dios River to our lodge. Settle into your beautiful cabana and then enjoy lunch. Take a siesta, join teatime and get ready for an afternoon excursion. Enjoy a guided walk to discover the Amazon Basin  and learn about the forest environment as you wander past impressive trees and strangler figs. It’s a great opportunity for bird watching and observing exotic insects. Some 14 different excursions are available while staying at this lodge.  Later the River by Night excursion is recommended as animals and birds of the day give way to species adapted to the night. Search for nightjars, owls, capybaras and big caimans.  Enjoy cocktails before dinner. Later retire early to your own cabana or join a naturalist to talk about life in the rainforest and listen to the sounds of the jungle at night.  B/L/D     

Tue, January 14 – Rise for 5:30am breakfast to avoid the heat and enjoy nature at its fullest. A full buffet is available later.  This morning opt for a glide in a wooden canoe across a mirror-like lake that is home to the endangered giant river otter, as well as red howler monkeys, red-bellied macaws, anacondas, and side-neck turtles. After lunch consider a visit to a canopy walk 29-meters above the forest floor. Descend from the canopy and experience a 200-meter walk along a wooden bridge to observe various species in this lush ecosystem.   Visit the Ecomedia Center before dinner for a nature presentation.B/L/D    

Tue, January 15 – Take a boat ride to explore the rain forest along the banks of a winding, dark-water creek, home to piranhas, caimans, turtles and birds. Upon reaching the embarkation point, board a canoe and navigate back downstream as abundant flora and fauna pass by.  We return to a farm for a picnic lunch and guided tour to see how local farmers raise fruits and vegetables. We return to the lodge for R&R. The spa offers aromatherapy, reflexology services as well as traditional services.  It’s also a great place to watch an Amazonian sunset on our last night of our trip. B/L/D  

Wed, January 16 – After breakfast we retrace our journey to Puerto Maldonado to visit the Butterfly House.  Peru boasts having the most butterflies in the world with 3,700 known species. Many can be seen at the House. Later we transfer to Lima via Cusco for our overnight flight home.  B

Trip Highlights

  • 5 days in the Machu Picchu/Cusco area.          
  • Enjoy a privately guided Machu Picchu tour 
  • Explore the ancient ruins and villages in the    Sacred Valley 
  • Lunch at a private estate in the Sacred Valley 
  • View the Amazon from a canopy tower 
  • Stay 3 nights in a beautiful rustic rain forest lodge     accessible only by boat 
  • Experience the diverse Amazon fauna and flora 
  • Professional guides throughout 
  • Small group excursions to less-visited areas 
  • All flights included out of Chicago 
  • A free video of your trip


Lincoln Museum & Badgers vs. Illinois


Thur, Oct 17

We will leave Madison around noon and bus to Springfield, IL. Our Drury Inn Hotel has hot food and cold drinks tonight plus hot breakfast the next morning. Heavy Appetizers

Fri, Oct 18

You will visit the Lincoln Museum.  This is one of the most popular presidential museums as it documents the life of Abraham Lincoln.  Learn more about the man who freed the slaves. We’ll spend Friday night again in Springfield and head to the game the next morning.                 Breakfast/ Heavy Appetizers

Sat, Oct 19

It’s gameday, but before that we’ll join the alumni association Tailgate…game time TBA.        Breakfast/Tailgate

Return: Friday or Saturday?

We are going to be flexible with this trip as we are trying to avoid a Saturday night stay if we play an early game. We will avoid campus hotels charging over $100 per person per night and require a two-night stay. Saturday night lodging is included in the trip cost, but it will be refunded if we play at 11am.

Your trip includes:

  • Admission to Abraham Lincoln Museum 
  • Tailgate and game ticket  
  • Coach bus & driver tip  
  • 3 nights lodging (possible Sat night refund)   
  • 2 nights at the Springfield Drury Inn  
  • Meals as specified